Re: Giving a surprise test to interviewees?

Subject: Re: Giving a surprise test to interviewees?
From: windham -at- orsoftware -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 07:06:56 -0700

I understand the need to weed out applicants who are unqualified or who
misrepresent their experience and credentials, but I doubt this test will
accomplish that. If it is as basic as you describe, and if an applicant
can score as low as 50% and still "pass," then the only people you're
going to eliminate are those who are marginal candidates to begin with.
Maybe I'm wrong but I would think most people who apply for a tech writing
job have a grasp of rudimentary grammar, punctuation and usage. You could
give this test to 10 people who are applying for a tech writing job and
maybe eliminate one of the them -- maybe. Then you're left with 9 people
who must be evaluated based on their performance in the interview, their
samples and their references. If the problem you encountered before was
the fabrication of sample work, then this test wouldn't have eliminated
that candidate and you would have had the same result.

That said, there's nothing wrong with asking a candidate to demonstrate
competence through a test or some other writing assignment. If you're
going to test candidates, make it clear up front that the interview
process will involve some sort of testing, and then come up with a test
that produces a meaningful result based on your company's requirements and
the requirements of the position.



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